I’ve always felt that a lot of the stuff you buy in the Academy don’t make much sense, and could maybe be acquired a different way in a way that is interesting/adds more to progression. The Academy itself could play a different role to what it is now, and that there’s a lot of potential to add interesting mechanics to it. This is more of a rant than actual suggestion for improvement, the solutions I’ve given are mostly very bare-bones and they definitely can be made more interesting. I’d welcome discussion if someone has better alternatives to what I’ve suggested below.
The items that I feel are most heavily flawed currently are those Always-On items relating to travel as they’re far, far more expensive than they have any right to be.
The Galactic Store Prices for upgrading and purchasing the Always On Travel items are as follows:
[stats by @OneWingLunarian ]
Cost: 690 keys.
Upgrade to Max: 5520 keys.
(237 + 366 + 496 + 626 + 754 + 884 + 1,014 + 1,143.)
Cost: 567 keys.
Upgrade to Max: 4542 keys.
(195 + 302 + 408 + 515 + 621 + 727 + 834 + 940)
Cost: 339 keys.
Upgrade to Max: 2714 keys.
(116 + 181 + 243 + 308 + 371 + 435 + 498 + 562)
I’d like to remind you that all that Orbit Droid does is reduce the time taken to dock in/out of orbit. In the same price range, we have Heavy Bombers, which I’d consider to be a far more game-changing investment than slightly faster travel is. These benefits are meant to be permanent, but are they really worth more than an entire new way of playing the game? Clearly, these benefits are not meant to be accessed in the early-game, but the benefits themselves, I would argue, are not worth as much as a fully stocked ship. Furthermore, since the Galactic Market is sorted alphabetically (by the way, has anyone else noticed how cluttered it is that way?), it’s the first thing that a new player would see, and of course would be the first thing they would attempt to buy once they get enough keys for it, which is bad since they do not contribute anything to the core gameplay of invasions, unlike other major investments, like weapons or ships, which is what should be focused on in the early-game.
Clearly, they must see some kind of change. However, the prices can’t be nerfed, since they aren’t meant to be early game items. There is another option, that being to make them a reward for tiering up. This would give tiering up somewhat of a purpose, as well as not putting stress upon the player to amass keys for these items and focus more on ships and other items that directly affect the gameplay of the game. I don’t like the solution of having them be unlocked as rewards for tiering up as it doesn’t make much sense, but there has to be another way about this, since iA has made it clear that he isn’t going to reduce the price of them.
2.Environmental Always-On Items
I’d like to briefly touch on those items that unlock environments, namely, Heat Shield, EM Shield, Gravity Nullifier, and Event horizon Stabilizer. For these, the prices are sensible enough, I will admit, but to access missions in wormholes, you need tier 39, at which point the EHS could as well be unlocked at that tier instead of costing 1.3k keys. It’s a tad bit overpriced, but not as ridiculous as the travel items are. As for the others, it wouldn’t hurt if they were unlocked automatically around tiers 15-25. The current system isn’t all that bad with regards to environments, but they could definitely be used to give tiers somewhat of a purpose. I’d much prefer it if they weren’t bought, but I don’t have any major problems with them staying that way. If they are made unlockable by tier, I’d suggest EHS coming in at tier 39, Gravity Nullifier at 25-27, EM Shield at 21 and Heat Shield at 17, though other people’s opinions on this might vary. There could also be a requirement to complete a certain amount of environmental missions to unlock other environments, for example, one may have to complete 20 frozen missions or so to unlock the Heat Shield, and so on. Again; not too much of a problem, but they definitely could be much more interesting in terms of how they’re acquired. I also would like to change how environments work, but that’s an entire topic on its own.
Another thing I’d like to add is that currently these items aren’t required to fly missions with environments if they appear in competitive missions. Being able to fly environmental missions without their shields makes them a bit pointless in my opinion.
Now, it’s up to debate whether the items above need to be tier restricted or not, but one type of item that definitely would make much more sense with a skill barrier are, well, skills. There are multiple ways of restricting them, one being a simple tier lock. However, this method does only ensures that players with enough experience in the game can unlock them, and total amassed score doesn’t say much about raw skill. To test the skill of the player, calibration missions can be used. The gist of them being that if you can fly a mission of a certain difficulty, say, 90-90% constant diff for Virtuoso, then you’re allowed to own the skill.
Perhaps, there could even be a mixture of the two requirements. Of course, there’s room for iteration here. The calibration missions for the first few skills may be available from the get-go so that older players can get straight back into the game, with later skills being tier, or requiring a certain amount of
different medals to fly. Of course, Tourist and Rookie are available from the get-go, with 30-30% mission for Seasoned, 60-60% Frozen mission for Veteran, 90-90% Inferno mission for Virtuoso, and an 120-120% Inferno and Massive mission for Superstar Hero, with all of them being 1x10 in length. Again, this is only an example, the actual stuff should be more interesting than that (120-120% might be overkill for SSH btw).
4.Extra Slots and Color Themes
The last items I’d like to touch on is Extra Slots and Color themes. I’m not sure how to feel about Extra Slots, they let you circumvent loadout restrictions on the H&C 101 whilst still keeping the key boost, which I feel is unfair. In my opinion, they should either be removed, or limited to three or four. As for color themes, I don’t really see why changing them should be paid at all, since it’s purely cosmetic. I don’t see anything wrong with players updating how their game looks too much, since it isn’t something like callsign, or paintjobs, where changing them should be limited.
5.What role should the Academy fill?
Since a major part of my proposed reworks involve removing stuff that the Academy can sell, the end result of it would be an Academy that sells nothing at all. The Academy doesn’t need to be a store, in my opinion, it could have a very different role, that of being the hub for competitive CIU. I and a few others have expressed their concerns with competitive missions being available everywhere, in that it makes exploration kind of pointless, as players don’t need to search for missions. Furthermore, it can be a bit too abrupt for newer players to instantly see challenges once they’ve booted up the game. I feel it would be good for them to be accessed from the academy. It already has the Anniversary missions with integrated live leaderboards, that would be a great feature for space races and weeklies, since you can immediately get a sense of what score you have to beat, so why not have them for weeklies and dailies as well?
The Academy could also have quest-type assignments, where it randomly assigns missions in the current constellation that you have to go and complete for a reward of keys, and other consumables. On a related note, I think having consumables as an auto-reward should be a thing, since if the player is only given keys then they’d simply stick to what works best for them, instead of experimenting, as there’s potential for loss of keys if they buy something that doesn’t fit their playstyle. By giving them equipment for free as a reward, they can test it out to see how they like it without the stress of having wasted keys.
I’m not particularly a fan of how the Hero’s Academy works in the game currently. I think that by changing up what it does and how it functions, you have the potential of introducing some fresh and interesting elements to the MMORPG parts of the game. What do you think? Do you think it needs changes? Do you think it’s fine as it is? Or do you think that something else entirely is the problem? Please comment what you think below.
Also, sorry for the horrid pacing and formatting, this was kind of made in a rush, I wanted to publish this as soon as possible.